City Region Deal: is disappointment justified?

It is difficult to know what to make of the City Region Deal announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron on his visit to Aberdeen.

It was great to see the UK and Scottish governments jointly stepping forward with a £250 million investment to help secure the future of Aberdeen as a global centre for oil and gas technology.

However, it was also difficult not to feel as though the Aberdeen City Region had been short-changed.

Throughout the build-up to the City Region Deal announcement, the figure that had been headlined was a £2.9 billion investment in the future. So, to discover the reality just 8.6% of that figure and a quarter of the city deal for Glasgow, was a bit of a disappointment.

But, why should the Aberdeen City Region have allowed itself to expect more support?

Maybe because of the £32 billion contribution that the Aberdeen-based oil and gas industry makes to the UK economy. Or the fact that the industry pays 16.4% of all UK Corporation Tax receipts.

Looking at the Aberdeen City Region Deal proposal document, the reference to the value of the proposal says “The proposal is estimated to be valued at £2.9billion over 20 years”.

Whether the deal can reach that value over the 20-year period we shall have to wait and see. But it is hard to see £250 million delivering the transformation we had been led to hope for.

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